Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And Still it Goes On

Yesterday as i was driving to Zeeuws Vlaanderen I was listening to BBC Radio which had two reports on the crisis in Palestine . Government workers have now not been paid for 3 months- still they go to work. Medicines are running out in hospitals. They are being starved.This impasse has to be resolved in some way other than starving people.It is a siege- a resort to medieval practices.And should Hamas recant as is demanded what then?

You cannot simply ignore 3.5 million people and pretend they are not there. I feel so powerless- any money that could be raised won't get in- effectively blocked by the economic embargo. I could say email your government representatives- but so many of those kind of protests seem to fall on deaf ears.

I see more artists challening widely held views and beliefs , using their art to speak and address issues.Ëarlier this year I sort of formulated a peace project in my head- an idea where all artists who wanted peace - created or used a box of standard postal size and somehow changed the outside in their own expressive way but with the concept peace formost in mind- and all such boxes to be delivered to museums of modern art around the world on the same day- so that the postal service would become the installation carrier and the museum delivery area the ïnstallation - to be photographed simultaneously with the photographs being the record. Could we do such a thing? Perhaps a box would be regarded as suspicious but letters would not have the same impact- anyway i have to go pack for my drive to paris tomorrow and my flight home- and see my family - yay! I have the superlative joy of seeing my family- many do not.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Netherlands

Another journey almost over. I have done and seen a lot and am actually feeling quite tired , though I am looking forward to having my sewing machine within easy access and getting going on some projects which I want done before September and of course seeing my family.

The collage is of various views of Erve Brooks where Annelies Elburg, Laura Liebenberg and Hella Sluyters and I have had an exhibition this past week. We had lots of visitors which is great but few buyers of anything, including fabric and fabric prints- which is not so great. I did not cover the cost of this weeks portion of the airfare from Australia to the Netherlands( I portion my airfare off into weeks so that i can see what is viable and what isn't) and sadly this was a loss for me so I will not do this again. One reason I am telling you this is I did get lots of questions about how did I do this and that- people want information clearly , but somehow expect to get it for nothing. We received lots of compliments and also comments such as "I have seen some great ideas"- yes well, as Gertrude Stein said the problem with having a great idea is that someone always comes along and does it better . Right now I am in the mood for keeping my great ideas behind closed doors for awhile and pondering how to better sell my goods. And whilst we sat and answered questions we thought we should have a byline-" ideas cost time, energy and money!"

I know this is one aspect of the quilt world- this sharing, and I do share but sometimes it simply becomes ripping off- and when you spend a year creating and people do not buy a thing- not even a piece of fabric then i feel despondent.After all I have three kids at home who also need to be fed. This isn't just a social outing for me, it is a step in the process of earning an income. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Back to the Beginning of the Journey

I am back to the beginning of my journey and in the Village of Sant Feliu de Boada, in the Catalan part of Spain where I did some teaching nearby. I found this olive tree adorned with glass jars to hold tealights( i wish we would get such glass jars for our yoghurt in Australia- all we get is nasty plastic containers). The thought of tealights twinkling on a hot summers night sent me off into fields of imagination. Of course it was helped by the fact that i was reading Robert Dessaix's book twilight of Love:Travels with Turgenev and his exploration of romantic love.I thought, but didn't do it, of writing a counter to some of Dessaix's paragraphs( to practice writing )-his writing has such style and lyricism that I get really disappointed when i finish one of his books. I have now lent the book to someone else and am regretting it (even though I know I shallbe getting it back) as this olive tree straight away brought back moments from the book, and all I have is my unreliable memory to fill in the words. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I am fascinated by the human need to mark make and to inscribe ones name on just about anything that will bear or wear such inscription. These graffiti markings come from the Holy Sepulchre Church in the walled old city of Jerusalem. This is said to be Christianity's oldest church and is in a rather sorry state compared the the magnificent gothic and romasque structures of Europe. It is said to contain the last 5 stations of the cross so many pilgrims make the journey to this church. I say sorry state because it is rather dingy inside with no cohesion to the areas- this is apparently caused by the fact that 4 different christian churches have guardianship over the church but apparently do not get on- and have not done so for quite some time . I have shown the outside photo because if you look at the middle window you will notice there is a small ladder standing- it has apparently been there since 1860 or even earlier- in 1860 there is a painting of the church which shows the ladder in this position. It is still there because certain areas of the church are claimed by one of the four different churches who have guardianship of the space and they cannot agree as to whom will remove it or carry on the work which apparently the ladder was needed for.

The first photo is a piece of stone which was completely covered in graffiti complete with phone numbers should you be so inclined, and the second photos is of one of the pillars leading into the church.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Exhibition at Gelselaar

Finally!- some photos..... I took this photo yesterday of our exhibition at Gelselaar-the two centre works are by Annelies Elburg. The wooden uprights are the original oak uprights from the old farm shed which has been refurbished.

The second set of photos are of traditional palestinian embroidered dresses.The cross stitching on these dresses is very fine and often done freehand straight onto the background fabric. The photo of the little bundles are of amulets collected by Dr canaan- he collected these from patients sometimes receiving them as payment for his service. He carefull catalogued all his amulets and i found these especially intriguing as they were made from fabric and tied like little parcels. Griots also wore this kind of amulet- inscriptions, often koranic, wrapped into little cloth parcels to protect them.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Exhibition in Gelselaar

Today the exhibition I am having with my friends Annelies Elburg, Laura Liebenberg ,Elviera and Hella opens at Erve Brooks in gelselaar in gelderland. The exhibition consists of quilts, hand painted cloth and felt works and we have lots things for sale to inspire and experiment.

24 t/m 28 meiExpositie TextielkunstPannenkoekenboerderij 'Erve Brooks', Broekhuisdijk 5, Gelselaar(Gld.). Info: tel. 0573452911, annelies.elburg@worldmail.nlDe expositie 'Textielkunst' bestaat uit moderne quilts van Annelies Elburg en Dijanne Cevaal, een Australische textielkunstenares, schilderijen op textiel van Laura Liebenberg en viltkunst van Hella Sluyters. Er hangen ca. 25 quilts en ca. 5 schilderijenop textiel en 4 vilt-objecten. De tentoongestelde kunst is ook te koop.Open: woensdag t/m zondag 10.00-17.00 uur.

I have been trying to upload photos but am having all sorts of problems , as I wanted to show some of the amulets in the colelction of Berzeit university- as they were little fabric parcels.

I also want to answer anonymous from Israel. I did preface my comments on my Palestine post by saying that I met many good people on both sides and that in that I trusted .And in that I hope for a fair and negotiated settlement. However I do feel that what is reported in Australia is a skewed view that presents mostly the point of view of one side and that the view presented rarely gives the Palestinian view. As Omega so rightly observed lets not mince words about the fence- it is a ugly concrete wall that is at least 6 metres high built to contain and that has observation posts at regular intervals manned with soldiers with machine guns. I reported what i saw because I was shocked- I have never seen anything like it.Nor was I fully aware of the implications that Palestinians have no citizenship- that means they are in a trap- they cannot go anywhere else, because their id cards are not sufficient, without a great deal more , to travel to another country let alone another area in the physical space they find themselves- which now has a concrete wall around it. I also have a longstanding interest in international relations and international law left over from my university law years and my years as a solicitor and am a firm believer in negotiated settlements- however in order to negotiate the negotiators must come to the table with at least the hope of equal rights - and when you are denied the right of citizenship despite the fact that you were born in an area of land to which your ancestors also have claim then I think there are serious problems. And in this I hold the international community as much responsible as anyone else.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Where I have Been

I am afraid this is going to be a bit of a political rant- so if you are not so inclined please do not read and please note that this is my opinion based on what I saw.

Firstly I want to share with you a website created for Palestinian artists at the Birzeit University in Ramallah under the guidance of Vera Tamari an artist in her own right- http://virtualgallery.birzeit.edu. Please take some time to explore this site- it has a list with images of Palestinian artists and has many articles and other things of interest.I was lucky to attend an opeining of an exhibition of the work of Hassan Hourani- a book he had been making for children- Hassan Everywhere- and which he unfortunately did not finish as he drowned in the sea near Jaffa.

Ok so here goes. I went into Ramallah last week- I have read many things about the issues surrounding Israel and Palestine, I have watched many programs and I have friends on both sides of the fence( literally- I know there are many good people everywhere and in that I must trust for a solution). However what i saw was such a travesty of justice that I cannot stand by and say nothing. I went to Ramallah to set up the Across Australia exhibition at an arts centre in Ramallah.

Firstly the fence- it has been ruled illegal by the international court of justice, but still it continues to be built. But it is not only a wall dividing Palestinians from Israelies- it effectively encloses Palestinians in towns and villages- so the wall is built around, often with only one gate in and out around towns where Palestinians live- effectively cutting Palestinians off from their land- land that they have cultivated and where they have been tending olive trees for hundreds of years. I remember the elation when the Berlin wall came down- and now nearly twenty years on I find people yet again building such an ugly monstrosity

Secondly America, the EU and Australia- effectively the West- have stopped all money going into Palestinian areas because they do not approve of the democratically elected government because they view it as terrorist- - remember it was a democratic election supervised by the UN- imagine if we did that to any western country if we did not approve of whom the people voted for- well for a start we would not have to deal with a number of smirkyfaced liers. What does this mean- no money is going into Palestinian areas , not even aid that some of the Arab states tried to send nor legitimately earned palestinian customs income so over 160,000 public sector workers which include doctors, nurses, teachers, council workers , policemen have not been paid for two months- these people have as an average 5-6 dependants- so you are looking at more than a million people who have not received a single cent since the elections- they have to live, pay taxes, pay for their housing and believe it or not they also need to eat.......
Gaza has been locked down completely - no one can leave- they have not had an flour, rice or milk going in for two months- there are many children in Gaza.......

An act which the IDF ( Israeli defence Force) constantly indulge in is the chopping down of olive trees- which has become the symbol of Palestinian identity- these trees have in the past provided a livelihood for the people. They are chopped down and dragged out of the ground by tanks. One story I was told was that as the wall was being built across the property of an old mans farm- the farm had been in the family for hundreds of years and the olive trees on the farm had come from Rumania 200 years previously. Well of course one can't build a wall on another man's land with olive trees in the road- so the trees were chopped down and destroyed. The old man went to look and had a heart attack.

Palestinians do not have passports- you can only have a passport if you belong to a nation- the israelies do not accept they are part of Israel- so the Palestinians have identity cards . So for example you have a west bank Id card , or a Jersualem id card or a Gaza id card. There are more than 3.5 million Palestinians who live in what is called Israel- there are a further 6.5 million living in other parts of the world. If you have a west bank id or a gaza id you cannot travel outside of your area- so for example you may live in Ramallah but were born in Hebron- and area on the westbank physically separated from Ramallah- you have to travel across Israeli land to get to Hebron- you can't even if your father and mother live in Hebron and your sisters and brothers because people with Westbank ramallah id cannot travel outside of their area.

And these are just some of the things I encountered.I cannot believe, but must because I have seen, that these millions of people who have lived in that part of the world for hundreds of years are denied the rights of citizenship- where are they supposed to go??? I cannot believe that the West can deny access to money that belongs to the Palestinian people because they do not approve of whom they democratically elected. The result of the election might have been different had some concessions been made.

And lastly but not leastly- I encountered many delightful people on my trip- people like you and I who want to live peacefully, raise their children and educate them ( education is of paramount importance to palestinian people because even if the body can't be free the mind can be free) who want to be citizens of the land where they were born and where their fathers and mothers were born, who want to tend their crops and just be a part of the world.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I am Still Here

No I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I did teach near Girona which was a lot of fun. The village where I stayed was just gorgeous and perfect for early morning walks. I will post pictures as soon as I have access to somewhere where I can post photos. And the food was very good too- I love what the Catalan do with toasted bread- you slice a tomato in half and mush the inners onto your toast rubbing really hard ( if you are a garlic head you can rub some garlic in before you rub the tomato) and then you dribble it with olive oil and then sprinkly with salt and pepper- it is seriously good! And the students were a lot of fun as well.

My husband has gone for a job interview- for drafting homes for a company not so far away from where we live- keep your fingers crossed for me. It means I won't travel so much- maybe once a year but regular income will be a nice change.

And at the moment I am in Israel- the opening of Across Australia is tonight in Tel Aviv- this all happened suddenly and at the last minute.The quilts look fabulous int he space art Shalom Towers. The exhibition will then move onto Ramallah, although I will be staying in Jerusalem- where I will also go and then onto Nazareth- but by then I shall be back in Europe at Salleles d'Aude.

Right now have to finish hand quilting a piece I started last year- but kept on putting off the hand quilting part- I want it finished by tonight when I am giving a lecture.